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Excellence in Research Support submissions 2020

Submissions listed alphabetically by university.

CQU’s Research Application Dashboard (RAD), a one-stop onboarding portal, to transform the Research Higher Degree (RHD) application process

CQUniversity Australia


This one-stop onboarding portal, developed by CQUniversity for CQUniversity, has transformed the student and staff experience of the Research Higher Degree (RHD) application process.  Growth of CQUniversity’s Research division is a key strategic objective in CQUniversity’s Strategic Plan.  In July 2018, an assessment of the Research entry process by Glentworth International (GWI), identified key opportunities to improve the student experience and minimise the burden on staff by streamlining and automating the on-boarding process.

Publication Harvesting Project

Griffith University

Griffith University

The Publications Harvesting Project delivered a complete change for publication and research outputs management at Griffith University. Through the implementation of Symplectic Elements, more that 80% of research outputs are now automatically discovered and accurately added to the Annual Collection for reporting. This has improved workload efficiency for professional and academic staff, and improved research output reporting performance, decreasing processing times from 12 weeks to 10 Days. ORCiD integration has simplified the mint and/or claim process and enables researchers to manage their privacy and preference settings within Elements. Through extensive collaboration with Library and research administration teams, workload realignment has improved team output and performance by releasing team members to focus on value add service delivery to the research community. The complete solution includes integrations with RIMS, PeopleSoft HR and Student systems, and the Planning Portal. Over 1,400 Griffith researchers and support staff were affected by this change.

Training without Borders; Taking a holistic approach to digital development of a research institute

Griffith University

Griffith University

Since 2015, we have been teaching coding and other technology focused skills. However, in the last year, the focus has changed to have a broader agenda targeting the digital capability and integrity of researchers. This includes:

  • Data focused workshops, including Data Management, Sensitive Data Handling (integrating the Five Safes Framework and local policy) and Reproducible Research
  • Leveraging large compute and the possibilities now available
  • Communicating Research effectively by underpinning Data Storytelling concepts and visualizations techniques

Paired with this training are consultations to support training and to highlight technologies that researchers haven’t been introduced to yet – and may not know exist. This approach allows researchers to a) get immediate results such as automating their research practices, accelerating the speed and expanse of research results and b) lift the underlying ongoing capability for working in a digital environment.


La Trobe University

La Trobe

The PRIME (Program for Research Information Management Enablement) program has been the catalyst for the introduction of new ways of working (NWW) on major projects at La Trobe. The PRIME Program itself is focused on transforming Research Information Management practice/lifecycle at La Trobe, from opportunities and grants to outcomes and publications. PRIME has enabled organisational transformation for three key operational pillars, project agility, governance, and technology innovation. These pillars are articulated by: enabling researchers to be at the epicentre of innovation, the introduction of agile governance inclusive of flexible collaboration, shared risk/reward, contracts evolving from a traditional view of ‘vendor deliverables’ to ‘partnership’, and leveraging a modern technology platform i.e. Salesforce, to build a research information management ecosystem. Collaboration and participation are two cornerstone elements with committed researchers, partnered with IT project team and the vendor to create a connected team that can see beyond abstracts and assumptions.

ERICA - E-Research Institutional Cloud Architecture (ERICA): secure cloud computing for sensitive microdata

UNSW Sydney


The nominee within UNSW IT, Richard Green, has and continues to play a pivotal role in the architecture and secure development operations of the platform enabling UNSW to offer this architecture as a secure cloud computing environment for research. It was specifically designed to provide an appropriate level of security for research that uses sensitive microdata (for example health records) while taking advantage of the flexibility, scalability and cost-effectiveness of the AWS cloud computing platform. In addition to the expansion of the ERICA system, Richard has applied the design to State and Federal level projects and enabled the UNSW Centre for Big Data Research in Health to achieve NSW Health accreditation for the ERICA system.

Molecular Horizon’s Facility

University of Wollongong


The University of Wollongong (UOW) is currently undergoing a major digital transformation across multiple areas of the business. A critical pillar to this transformation is the Health & Wellbeing Strategy (H&WS), driven by Professor Alison Jones. An important building block to H&WS has been the launch of The Molecular Horizons Research Facility which applies data-mining and machine-learning across massive datasets to deliver health analytics and molecular visualization. The ultimate aim of The Molecular Horizons Facility was to be a world-leading molecular life sciences research facility that employs a suite of advanced technology to help researchers in solving the world’s biggest challenges: including cancer cures and developing new forms of antibiotics. A tactical approach had to be identified which involved ensuring housing of technology and associated infrastructure connections. The information technology component needed to be flexible, adaptable, transportable, resilient and unquestionably reliable. 

Wonderama Lab

Western Sydney University

Western Sydney University

An initiative of the Western Sydney University’s Information Technology Division, the Wonderama Lab is embedded in the Schools Specialist Teaching and Research Support (SSTaRS) team. The Lab allows students, academics and researchers, as well as external parties, to gain firsthand experience with advanced visualisation technologies. Conducting its own research and proof of concept designs to show what is possible, it provides a safe space to experiment, make mistakes and most importantly enjoy a fun learning experience. Often projects with one application can also be repurposed in innovative ways. This was particularly the case during this Summer’s bushfire emergency, when between December 26 to late January, and at the peak of the fires in the Blue mountains, SSTaRS team member Andrew Leahy applied his skills to “data scrape” the Rural Fire Service (RFS)  static 2D fireground maps to create Google Earth 3D perspective views of active fire zones.